Angel’s Share by Kayte Nunn
Read an excerpt!
When something is taken away, it can make what’s left all the sweeter – in winemaking, they call it the ‘angels’ share’.
Mattie Cameron thinks she’s got it all figured out: an impressive career in London, a gorgeous boyfriend and brilliant friends. But after a freak skiing accident leaves her with serious injuries, a broken heart and a job she can no longer do, moving back to Australia to recuperate at her brother Mark’s winery in the Shingle Valley seems like the only option.
Meanwhile, Mark is preoccupied with a catastrophic threat to the future of the valley and his partner, Rose, is juggling the demands of her burgeoning restaurant and being a stepmother, all the while secretly longing for a child of her own.
As Mattie’s injuries heal, she begins to wonder where her future might lie, especially when she finds herself struggling with her growing feelings for winemaker Charlie Drummond – who happens to be engaged to someone.
Featuring the cherished cast of characters from Rose’s Vintage, this new tale of life and love in the spectacular Shingle Valley is set to charm and delight.
Excerpt from Angel’s Share by Kayte Nunn
‘What’ll it be, Mattie?’ Jake’s voice brought her back to the roar of conversation in the pub.
‘Beer, thanks. My round next.’
Astrid was there with Thommo. Apart from briefly spotting him at Luisa’s birthday party, Mattie hadn’t seen him in more than ten years and was surprised by how much he’d grown up, blurting out as much before she could stop herself.
‘Well, becoming a father will do that to you, hey?’ Thommo said proudly, giving Astrid a squeeze. ‘Have you seen the little man? Isn’t he the greatest?’
‘Chip off the old block,’ she assured him. ‘The spitting image.’
Jake returned with their drinks and then introduced her to Deano and Mick, winemakers at Lilybells, the winery that had once belonged to Mattie’s parents. It was where she and Mark had grown up. She quizzed the two men on what it was like now, and who lived at the main house.
‘Leased to the Davis family, you know, over at Bellbirds. Rumour has it they’re going to turn it into some sort of fancy health retreat,’ said Deano.
‘Yeah, with wine thrown in!’ joked Mick.
Mattie looked incredulous.
‘No, really, they plan to use the must – the leftover grape skins – as a treatment,’ said Deano. ‘We’re working out how much we can charge ’em for it,’ he guffawed.
Mattie grinned back at him. It was good to be out, especially with people who didn’t know too much about what had happened to her in the last couple of months. It was also surprisingly enjoyable to be in an Aussie pub for a change, rather than a fancy wine bar. Somehow she felt far more at ease, more like the person she had once been – not the stressed-out, high-powered media maven, but just Mattie, a girl from the valley having a beer with her mates on a Friday night. She’d almost forgotten how that felt.
‘So, Jake planning on getting you legless then?’ asked Thommo later, while Jake was at the bar again. ‘I see he’s already made a start – ha, ha!’
She rolled her eyes.
‘You’d better watch out for him, you know, Tilly. He’s a heartbreaker.’ Thommo’s tone held a paternal warning.
‘Funny, you’re not the only one to mention that. And it’s Mattie these days, not Tilly,’ she said, a sharpness to her voice. She wasn’t used to being patronised, however well meaning it was.
Just then she saw another familiar face appear at the door.
Her heart raced, just as it had when she’d thought she’d seen him at Luisa’s party.
Thommo had been the reliable brother, the safe bet, but Charlie was the one who made everything seem more exciting merely by being there. Accepter of dares. Breaker of rules. Creator of mayhem and mischief. The boy most likely to get into trouble but equally as likely to charm his way out of it.
Mattie remembered a dance at the Eumeralla town hall the summer she turned fifteen. She’d begged her dad to let her go, and he’d eventually relented. Mark had dropped her off. Mum had persuaded her out of her usual cut-offs and ratty t-shirt and into a dress. She’d brushed her hair until it gleamed like polished silky oak, taming its usual wild tangle. The stiff material of the dress scratched the back of her legs and she felt strangely exposed, though it covered her quite modestly. But she forgot all of that as soon as she laid eyes on Charlie. With his merry smile and happy-go-lucky charm, he was the golden boy in the room, surrounded by a group of girls a few years older and far more sophisticated than her. He looked up as she walked into the room and caught her eye. In the instant he smiled at her, she was lost, head over heels. Not that she’d ever admitted it to anyone.
He’d twirled her around the room in one dance at the end of the evening – probably more out of obligation than anything else, she thought later. She’d never forgotten the feeling of being held in his arms, of his skin, almost burning to the touch, under his shirt, the warm, spicy maleness of him. This sudden and secret passion – she was far too shy to ever approach him and let him know how she felt – was a constant ache, an unfulfilled wanting that accompanied the rest of her teens. No one else had ever come close. Not even Johnny, she realised with a shock.